Book Review: Heartland




Author: Cathryn Hein

333 pages

Published by: Penguin Books Australia – Thank you to the publishers for my copy of this book

Available: Now


‘  When Callie Reynolds arrives at Glenmore, the property she’s recently inherited, the last thing she wants is to be saddled with a warty horse, an injured neighbour and a mad goose. Haunted by her sister’s death and her fractured family, all she wants is freedom.

But Callie hasn’t counted on falling for Matt Hawkins, an ex-soldier determined to fulfil his own dream of land and family. Nor could she predict the way the land, animals and people of Glenmore will capture her heart.

Callie is faced with impossible choices. But she must find the courage to decide where her future lies, even if it costs her everything she holds dear ‘


Callie Reynolds is running. Devastated and guilt ridden over the loss of her beloved older sister Hope, Callie abandons her shattered family to hide among strangers. And where better than a small coastal town in Queensland’s glorious Whitsunday region with its largely transient population of holidaymakers and foreign backpackers.

But a letter arrives advising Callie that not only has she lost her grandmother…… but her paternal family’s property of Glenmore is now hers. She has wonderful childhood memories of Glenmore and the nearby town of Dargate, where she and her sister escaped their big city hometown of Melbourne and indulged all manner of childhood passions such as fishing, horse riding and long, lazy days being spoiled by adoring grandparents.

A few days drive later Callie arrives at the property, intent on cleaning the place up and putting it on the market. Then it’s back to Airlie Beach to settle back into her life of empty anonymity.

But a grumpy old man, a handsome young ex-soldier, a warty horse, a goose and a broken young girl have other ideas.

Callie was never going to make a quick escape from Glenmore….. and aren’t we glad she didn’t. This book is why I miss reading. It’s why I should make time for my books once again. It’s why I am now going to return to being one of those people who is always reading a book.

The author has perfectly captured that feeling of a modern rural town. Small enough to be a small town but within driving distance of a major city. Some locals lament the ever closer inching of the suburban sprawl with its influx of hobby farmers and property developers. In fact, the sale of Glenmore may well end in its demise as a single property and see it sub-divided and sold off as lots. This thought weighs heavily on Callie’s mind.

But it is her burgeoning relationship with the hunky ex-soldier neighbour, Matt Hawkins, that tests Callie’s resolve to leave. The pair, once childhood friends, get off to a rocky start but with Callie simply being in need of the help of  ‘an attractive, capable man’, what else can a girl do but get caught up in the moment.

The flirting that goes on between Callie and Matt is a delight to read. I found myself smiling and resisting the urge to flip through the pages to see how it all ends as this pair did that most delicious of emotional dances….falling in love. Matt falls hard and fast and has no problem wearing his heart on his sleeve. Callie is more reticent, reminding Matt that she will be leaving Glenmore once she sorts everything out.

The language and emotion are real and can be seen and overheard in any city, town, pub, bus, workplace …… basically anywhere two people can meet and flirt and potentially fall in love. There is a smattering of swearing which is just so natural and just so perfectly right that I mentally high-fived the author for allowing her instincts to flow into her words.

This is a love story for the modern woman. It is natural, wonderful and engaging. Callie is neither a victim nor a hero…..just an ordinary girl who has to deal with difficult issues and goes about it the best way she knows how. She has hardened her heart to protect herself and it is lovely to watch her opening up to her new friends. Her patience with a local girl, distraught and terrified of her own horse after a terrible accident, is the key to Callie’s character and perhaps her salvation.

So does Callie stay with the attractive capable man? Does she give in to those deeply buried desires for home and hearth? Or does she run back to her fun and happy yet emotionally devoid life in Queensland?

I thoroughly recommend you buy the book and find out…..

Cathryn, who once called Newcastle home, has graciously agreed to an interview in the very near future. Keep an eye out for it on Social/Life Magazine

Please visit the author, Cathryn on her website

Cathryn Hein

Cathryn Hein

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